RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) – A Riverside couple who were unable to move into their new home for 15 months — because the previous owner refused to leave — were finally able to get into their house last week.

A couple remove the previous homeowner from a Riverside, Calif., home they purchased back in January 2020, but were unable to move into for 15 months. April 2021. (CBS2 News This Morning)

Tracie and Myles Albert closed on the $650,000 home back in January of 2020, but when they arrived at the home to get the keys from the former homeowner, he told them he was not moving out.

The couple tried to evict him, but California’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium kicked in soon after they filed the paperwork.

The moratorium is supposed to keep struggling families housed during the pandemic, but the couple said the former homeowner was taking advantage of the system to stay at the home for free while scamming them out of the cash they’ve paid up front.

The couple have been on the hook for the mortgage for more than a year.

Cell phone video showed the couple taking control of the house last week, while a neighbor’s security camera caught footage of the previous owner moving out.

The couple changed the locks and began removing all the items the former owner left behind. The couple said the ordeal has soured them on the house and they may look to sell it themselves.

“I hate this home now and it really does suck, but every time I drive up this street it’s anxiety,” Myles Albert said.

“At this point I can’t imagine moving in,” he added.

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